December 6, 2022 – At the 2022 Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC), the ARM Institute Virtual Part Repair Programming for Robotic Thermal Spray Applications Project Team won a Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award (DMTAA). Established in 1999, the annual DMTAA Awards are given to teams comprising government, industry and academia employees responsible for outstanding projects in manufacturing technology. These projects demonstrate technical accomplishments and provide a responsive world-class manufacturing capability that affordably meets the warfighter’s needs throughout the defense acquisition lifecycle.
The ARM Institute Virtual Part Repair Programming for Robotic Thermal Spray Applications Project Team is managed at the ARM Institute by Chris Adams (Senior Programs Manager). Funding and guidance were provided by The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Division (ManTech). The Project Team was comprised of ARM Institute Members University of Connecticut and Titan Robotics.
This Project was funded through a Directed ARM Institute Project Call by The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Division (ManTech). AFRL and the ARM Institute were able to execute rapid mobilization and contracting to award funding within only four (4) months of notification.
Current methods for thermal spraying are repetitive and time-consuming. Repairs for each part also vary greatly and, thus, each individual part requires custom programming to identify where the robot needs to apply a thermal coating. This project developed a virtual method for operators to automatically generate a robotic thermal spray path plan over a repair area on a physical part within a thermal spray booth using an immersive interface.
The project team at the University of Connecticut (UConn) designed and developed a sensor system for measuring thickness buildup over a part during various thermal spray processes. The sensory measurement is paired with a virtual repair programming interface from Titan Robotics where the operator simply highlights (i.e. virtual mask) the repair in the graphical user interface (GUI) and builds up the thermal spray coating to a desired thickness over the selected part area for repair. All work (part localization and repair area selection) performed by the operation takes place in an augmented reality environment thru the use of Microsoft HoloLens.
Read more about the project here or watch the video below.
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About the ARM Institute
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Agreement Number W911NF-17-3-0004 and is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. The ARM Institute leverages a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of 300+ consortium members and partners across industry, academia, and government to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen our economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience. Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, the ARM Institute is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. For more information, visit www.arminstitute.org and follow the ARM Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter.